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My Laser-Cut "Can't Stop" Board

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let-off studios
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Joined: 02/07/2011
"Can't Stop" Laser Cut Project
pieces-detail.jpg

Maybe you all would be interested in this. I finished up a commissioned laser-cutting project this evening..! I'm both surprised with myself, and proud of the finished project.

Although I'd tinkered around with some of my own designs with the laser cutter, I never took on such an ambitious project before this. But I suppose that's how learning happens, eh?

Some details:

  • The board is comprised of four separate panels, connected together like a puzzle, and the fully-assembled board is about 17.5" across.
  • There are 47 individual game pieces, each one being a hollow "pyramid" nearly 1" across at the base. The game requires that the pieces are able to stack on top of one another, so I kept them hollow.
  • Rob - the guy who commissioned me - wanted two shades of green, and two shades of purple game pieces. He and his wife play the game together (the game board was for their 25th wedding anniversary), but have instituted house rules so that the two of them use the game pieces needed for all four players. It's a pretty cool game variation.
  • The three red pieces are the "column markers." Those who know the game will understand what they're for.

This was a fun and challenging project to make, and I'm pretty pleased with it. Rob also paid me for it, which helped make it even more worthwhile. :) It's easily the most difficult project I've done.

Juzek
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that looks awesome! how long

that looks awesome!

how long did it take?

(how much would you charge for some prototype pieces to be mailed to Ohio)?

let-off studios
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Answers

TL; DR: Thank you for the compliments! It took 50+ hours to finish this, spread out over several weeks. Pricing depends on the project. Send me a private message if you have a serious inquiry. I am open to and welcome more custom projects.

///

I appreciate the kind words and compliments. Rob seems ecstatic and I can't wait to have the game in his hands. He is in Canada (while I'm in the 'States) and wanted it by the Christmas holiday - but of course. I ship it out this coming weekend so chances are highly likely he'll have it before then.

How Long Did It Take?
It took... A minute. I started the project in September and chipped away at it in my spare time. Cutting each quadrant of the board took over an hour, and cutting all the game pieces took about an hour and a half.

Experimenting (also known as "butting my head against the wall") was easily over 10 hours. That was tough. There was also some maintenance I had to perform on the laser cutter, which took about 3 hours of time.

Collaborating, communication, and then sending versions of the design back and forth with my client was also time-consuming (and had to be done before any of the cutting steps), but when the end result is pretty much exactly the way he wanted it the time was well spent.

If I were to try to clock myself for time spent on this project, I'd say about 50 hours of work. For a first time, and a lot of firsts for me, the knowledge and experience I gained from this project is immensely valuable and really can't be (realistically) quantified.

How Much Would I Charge...?
That depends heavily on the nature of the project. For example, I gave Rob my "break even" discount because it was his wedding anniversary and my first custom game project.

Can't Stop is occasionally back in print, and unless it's a special occasion one-off I don't think I'll be making too many more of these (but a custom version of Carcassonne: South Seas for myself seems like a nice project to undertake). Meanwhile, custom design/prototype components are fair game. If you want to talk about a specific project, just send me a message.

I've learned that there seems to be more of a market for this kind of thing than I first realized. I hope to make various game tokens, currency coins, player pawns, etc. and have a kind of storefront where people can order sets to "upscale" the components for their game collection. Being able to directly customize pieces for a client seems fun, realistically possible, and marketable.

I'm still quite a ways off from paying off the laser cutter, but more projects like this would help. Right now: I have the time, if you have the project. :)

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